I received the wonderful opportunity to interview Wonderland Award-winning author Danger Slater. He did not disappoint, answering as only Danger can.
You can find my review of his novel Impossible James here
And my review of his novella He Digs a Hole here
ZÉ BURNS: When did you start writing?
DANGER SLATER: The first “book” I ever made was in 3rd grade when, as an assignment, our teacher wanted us to write and illustrate our own novels. I kinda hated my teacher and class though, so I ended up writing this story about how she died choking on a walnut and she was put in her coffin and no one came to her funeral. I guess I was a pretty disturbed little kid. But, c’mon, don’t make me do dumb projects, lady.
I wanted to write books since I was 18, but it took about 10 years of near-constant practice before I was good enough to actually SELL something. In all that time I lived in a myriad of different cities and worked a ton of different shitty jobs. I guess not that much has changed since then except a few more people are paying attention to my books than they used to.
ZB: What draws you to the bizarre?
DS: Ya know, I don’t go through life thinking I’m weird, or that my aesthetic is weird. Hell, I don’t even think my books are all that weird. I had a friend once describe me as a ‘neophyte’ which is a word I had to look up (ha ha, I’ll save you the trouble, it means a person who craves new experiences) and I suppose that’s true because I tend to get bored real easy. Weird things are intrinsically less boring than average things. Weird movies are more fun than blockbusters. Weird books are more interesting than whatever passes for fiction in mainstream circles. I’m drawn to the bizarre because I don’t have any other place to turn to. I want to be surprised. I want to be wowed. I want the kind of art that cuts through internal organs I didn’t know I had.
ZB: What are you reading now?
DS: I’m reading a book called Artemis by Andy Weir and it takes place on the MOON! Love the moon. I wrote a book about the moon (unpublished, as yet) so I figured I’d take this book out of the library and see if there was any parallel thinking. I mean, great minds think alike, right? Turns out, nope, we don’t share any of the same ideas at all. But this Artemis book is still a light, fun read, so I’m enjoying it.
ZB: We’ve seen dystopian puppet people, flesh-like spleenfruit trees, and now a man impregnating himself with his own clones. How in the world do you come up with all this?
DS: Uh…well…I don’t know. Ha ha. How does one come up with any idea? It’s just there one day, half-formed, rushing by you with all your other thoughts. I guess the trick is that instead of brushing it off or ignoring it, I latch on, reel it in, keep feeding it, and let it grow. I mean, beyond the weird plot points of my books, I focus heavily on realistic emotional story arcs about the complicated relationships between people and the world around them. Relatability is the glue that holds good stories together, meaning do you care about the character and what they have to go through? If the answer is YES, then everything else is just the stuff that happens to facilitate that. Maybe that’s why my books don’t feel that weird to me. Because even with all the crazy shit going on around the characters, their emotional arcs are typically very clear and universal.
ZB: You’ve done a fair number of interviews in your day. What’s one question you wish you’d been asked? How would you answer?
DS: I don’t know. You’re the interviewer. Don’t make me do your job for you!
ZB: What’s next from Danger Slater?
DS: Well, I’m still on the promotional kick for Impossible James, so that’s what I’ll be talking about for the next few months still. And like I alluded to in an earlier question, I’ve already finished up work on another novel about the moon, called MOONFELLOWS. There’s no release date on that yet, but it’ll be out sometime in the future. Maybe 2020? We’ll see.
Thank you to Danger Slater for his time!
I cannot recommend his work enough, so check out these awesome books by him:
You can find him on Twitter at @Danger_Slater where he posts with his own peculiar brand of humor.